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[Hoe, Robert] 

A short history of the 
printing press. 

A Short History of 

The Printing Press 

And of the Improvements 
Printing Machinery from the 
Time of Gutenberg up 
to the Present Da\ 





A Short History of 

The Printing Press 

A Short History of 

The Printing Press 

And of the Improvements in 

Printing Machinery from the 

Time of Gutenberg up 

to the Present Day 







\vysiClN DE WOIDC 


A3UT the year 1450, Gutenberg was engaged in printing 
his first book from movable types. No method of taking 
the impressions simpler than that employed by him can be 
imagined, unless it be with a " buffer," or by means of a brush 
rubbed over the paper laid upon the " form " of type, after the 
manner of the Chinese in printing from engraved blocks. His 
printing press consisted of two upright timbers, with cross pieces of 
wood to stay them together at the top and bottom. There were 
also intermediate cross timbers, one of which supported the flat 
"bed" upon which the type was placed, and through another a 
wooden screw passed, its lower point resting on the centre of a 
wooden " platen," which was thus screwed down upon the type. 
After inking the form with a ball of leather stuffed with wool, the 
printer spread the paper over it, laying a piece of blanket upon the 
paper to soften the impression of the platen and remove inequalities. 
This was the machine which Gutenberg used. The mechanical 
principle embodied in it was found in the old cheese and linen 
presses ordinarily seen in the houses of medieval times. 

Were Gutenberg called upon to print his Bible to-day he 
would find virtually the same type ready for his purpose as that 


made by him, no change 
having taken place in its 
general conformation ; but 
he would be bewildered in 
the maze of printing ma- 
chinery of the beginning of 
the twentieth century. 

The simple form of 
wooden press, worked with 
a screw by means of a mov- 
able bar, continued in use 
for about one hundred and 
rifty years, or until the 
early part of the seven- 
teenth century, without any 
material change. The forms 
of type were placed upon 
the same wooden and some- 
times stone beds, incased in frames called "coffins," moved in and 
out laboriously by hand, and after each impression the platen had 
to be screwed up with the bar so that the paper which had been 
printed upon it might be removed and hung up to dry. 

The first recorded improvements in this press were made by 
William Jensen Blaew, a printer of Amsterdam, some time about 
1620. They consisted in passing the spindle of the screw through 
a square block which was guided in the wooden frame, and from 
this block the platen was suspended by wires or cords; the block, or 
box, preventing any twist in the platen, and insuring a more equal 
motion to the screw. He also placed a device upon the press for 
rolling in and out the bed, and added a new form of iron hand lever 
for turning the screw. Blaew's press was introduced into England, 
and used there as well as on the continent, being substantially the 



same as that Benjamin Franklin worked upon as a journeyman in 
London, early in the last century. 

Little further im- 
provement was made in 
the printing press before 
the year 1798, when the 
Earl of Stanhope caused 
one to be made, the 
frame of which, instead 
of being ot wood, was 
one piece of cast-iron. 
A necessity had arisen 
for greater power in giv- 
ing the impression, es- 
pecially in the printing 
of woodcuts, and the 
tendency was naturally 
toward larger forms of 
type, requiring greater 
exertion on the part of the printer; the labor in working one of the 
old screw presses was about equal to that of the plowman in the 
field. The Earl of Stanhope reserved the screw, but caused to be 
added a combination of levers to assist the pressman in gaining 
greater power, when giving the impression, with less expenditure of 
energy. These machines were very heavy and extremely cumber- 
some. They were the first iron printing presses ever constructed, and 
came into use to some extent. The printers, seizing upon this new 
idea of a combination of levers to increase the power, were induced 
to place them upon their wooden presses, the improvement resulting 
generally in the destruction of the latter, which were not adapted 
to stand the strain. The iron platen employed by the Earl of Stan- 
hope had, however, previously been used upon the wooden presses. 



The next practical improvement was made by George Clymer 
of Philadelphia, who, about i S i 6, devised an iron machine, entirely 
dispensing with a screw. A long, heavy cast-iron lever was placed 
over the platen, one end attached to one of the uprights of the cast- 
iron frame, and the other susceptible of being raised and lowered 

by a combination of smaller lev- 
ers, worked by the pressman after 
the manner of the ordinary hand 
press. The impression was given 
and the platen raised and lowered 
by a spindle, or pin, attached to 
the centre of the large cross lever 
at the top, this being properly 
balanced to facilitate its being 
raised with greater ease. Mr. 
Clymer carried his invention to 
England, where it was introduced 
to some extent and was known as 
the " Columbian " press. 

In England there were iron 
hand presses made by Rutheven, by 
Brown and by others, all, more 
or less, improvements upon the Stanhope. 

In 1822 Peter Smith, an American, connected with the firm 
of R. Hoe & Co. in New York, devised a machine which was in 
many respects superior to any up to that time. The frame 
was of cast-iron, and in place of the screw with levers, he substi- 
tuted a toggle joint, at once simple and effective. 

In 1827, however, Samuel Rust of New York, perfected an 
invention which was a great improvement on the Smith press. The 
frame, instead of being all of cast-iron, had the uprights at the sides 
hollowed for the admission of wrought-iron bars, which were 




securely riveted at the top 
and bottom of the casting. 
This gave not only additional 
strength, but greatly dimin- 
ished the amount of metal 
used in construction. This 
patent was purchased by 
R. Hoe & Co., who im- 
proved upon it, and pro- 
ceeded with the manufacture 
of the presses, although the 
" Smith" continued to be 
used to some extent. The 
new invention was known as 
the " Washington " press, and 
in principle and construction 
has never been surpassed by 
any hand printing machine. 
They were manufactured in 
great numbers, and continue 
to be manufactured and sold 
at the present time for taking 
fine proofs, although the uni- 
versal adoption of the cylin- 
der press has almost entirely 
superseded them for other 
printing. The number made 
and sold by Hoe & Co. 


alone, a majority or which 

are now in use, is over six thousand. They have been sent all over 

the world. This style of press is made in seven sizes. 

The following is a description of this press : The bed slides on 


a track and is run in and out from under the 
platen by turning a crank which has belts 
attached to a pulley upon its shaft. The im- 
pression of the platen is given by 
means of a curved lever acting on 
a toggle joint, and the platen is 
lifted by- springs on either side. 
Attached to the bed is a 
" tympan " frame covered 
with cloth, and standing in- 
clined, to receive the sheet 
to be printed. Another 
frame, called the "frisket," 
is attached to the tympan, 
and covered with a sheet 
of paper, having the parts 
which otherwise would be 
printed upon cut away, so as to prevent the " chase " and " furniture " 
from blacking or soiling the sheet. The frisket is turned down over 
the sheet and tympan and all are folded down when the impression 
is taken. Automatic inking rollers were attached to this machine, 
operated by a weight raised by the pull of the pressman, the descent 
of the weight drawing the rollers over the type and returning them 
to the inking cylinder while the pressman placed another sheet 
upon the tympan. Still further improvements in this inking ap- 
paratus were made and patented by Hoe & Co., in which the dis- 
tribution of the ink on the rollers was effected by means of an ap- 
paratus driven by steam power and which also caused the inking 
rollers to move forward over the type at the will of the pressman. 
The bed and platen system of printing was, up to the middle 
of the nineteenth century, the favorite method of printing fine 
books and cuts. The first " power " or steam press upon this prin- 



ciple was made by Daniel Treadwell, of Boston, in 1822. The 
frames were of wood, and it does not appear that more than three 
or four of these were ever constructed. The best machines of this 
description were those devised and patented by Isaac Adams, of Bo-- 
ton, in 1 830 and 1836, and by Otis Tufts, of the same place, in 1 834. 


They were first made with wooden and afterward with iron frames. 
In 1858 Adams's business became the property of Hoe 6c Co., who 
continued to manufacture the machines with added improvements. 
In all more than a thousand, in no less than fifty-seven sizes, were 
sold for use in the United States, some being sent to other coun- 
tries. In these machines, the type is placed upon an iron bed, after 
the usual manner of the hand press, and this bed is raised and low- 
ered by straightening and bending a toggle joint by means of a cam. 


thus giving the impression upon the iron platen fixed above it, and 
firmly held in position by upright iron rods .secured to the bottom 
bar, a .strong cross-piece, at the base of the machine. The ink 
fountain is at one end of the press; the inking rollers travel twice 
over the form, in a movable frisket frame, while the bed is down ; 
the paper is taken in by grippers on the frisket and carried over the 
form, when the bed rises and the impression is given; and finally 
the sheets pass forward from the frisket by tapes to a sheet flier, 
which delivers them on the fly board. One thousand sheets per hour 
is the maximum speed of the larger sizes of the Adams press. Al- 
though many of these machines were made and great numbers are 
still used, and notwithstanding the fact that it was thought by many 
experienced printers that fine book and cut work could be done in 
no other way than by flat pressure, this system of printing has given 
place to that of the cylinder press. 

The idea of printing from plates or forms carried upon a flat 
bed beneath a cylinder was not a new one, having been employed 
by printers of copper-plate engravings in the fifteenth century. 
Their machines, however, were rude in form, and made of wood, 
the roller revolving in stationary bearings, while the bed, with the plate 
upon it and carrying the paper, covered by a blanket, on its surface, 
moved backward and forward under the roller. The inking was 
done by hand with balls. With the inauguration of this system of 
printing from type or forms placed upon a flat bed moved forwards 
and backwards under a revolving cylinder, commenced an entirely 
new era in the history of the printing press. It should be under- 
stood, however, that the vast number of patents granted for printing 
machines in which the cylinder is connected with the bed, or by 
the operation of two cylinders together, one holding the form and 
the other giving the impression, are almost all for improvements 
and devices of detail, the radical principles upon which these are 
founded remaining the same. Thus, Sir Rowland Hill, in the early 


part of the nineteenth century, projected a machine tor printing 
from an endless roll, or " web " of paper ; and in 1790 an English- 
man named William Nicholson (author, inventor, patent agent, 
editor and school teacher] took out a patent covering the idea of 
cylinder presses in which the forms should be placed upon either a 
flat bed or cylinder at will and receive the impression from a cylin- 
der covered with cloth or some similar material. Between the bed 
and cylinder, or between the two cylinders, the sheet was to be fed 
in and printed. The ink was to be put on by a roller built up of 
cloth and covered with leather. There is, however, a great differ- 
ence between an actual invention and a scheme. If the simple 
proposition advanced to make a machine upon this principle, without 
its consummation, or without any press being produced, can be 
considered an invention, then Nicholson may (as a writer on the 
subject states) have been " so far ahead of his time as to leap over 
three generations " by his invention. As a matter of fact, however, 
his patents were mostly schemes, and little more, as a moment's 
reflection will convince. He did not know how to curve the plates 
to be put upon the cylinders, nor how to secure them properly for 
good work in fact, he did not know how to make the plates in 
any practicable manner. All these questions remained to be solved 
in order that the printing press might be an invention. On this 
account, therefore, I do not give descriptions of proposals to make 
machines, but of presses that have been actually made, and used 
sufficiently to entitle them to recognition as practical improvements 
exemplifying the progressive evolution of the printing press. 

The foundation and growth of newspapers first published peri- 
odically, and finally each day, created a demand for machines which 
should print with rapidity, and fine work was delegated for the 
time being to the flat bed and platen press, most of it, as has been 
seen, being turned out upon the hand press. 

The credit of actually introducing into use a flat bed Cylinder 


Press is due to a Saxon named Friederich KocMiig, who visited England 
in 1806, and through the assistance of Thomas Bensley, a printer 
in London, devised a machine which in 18121813 was worked 
by him, .and printed, among other publications, a part of " Clark- 
son's Life of William Penn." Koenig was assisted by a mechanic 
named Andrew Bauer, a fellow-countryman. The form of type 
was placed on a flat bed, the cylinder above it having a three-fold 
motion, or stopping three times ; the first third of the turn receiv- 
ing the sheet upon one of the tympans and securing it by the 
frisket ; the second giving the impression and allowing the sheet 
to be removed by hand, and the third returning the tympan empty 
to receive another sheet. 

These men also devised what has proved, even to this day, to 
be a most efficient reciprocating motion of the type bed. It con- 
sists of a pinion carried on the inner end of a long shaft which is 
turned by gearing from the outside of the press frame and has in its 
length a universal joint, allowing an up-and-down motion of the 
pinion as it revolves. To the outer end of the shaft the wheel con- 
necting with the impression cylinder is attached. Underneath the 
bed and fastened to it is a " rack," or a row of teeth, with a crescent- 
shaped segment of hard metal at each end. In this rack, in addition 
to the teeth, are pins, or studs, at each end. The wheel before referred 
to, at the outer end of the shaft, being set in motion revolves the 
pinion and moves the bed by means of the teeth in this rack. At 
the proper moment, calling for the reversal of the bed, the pinion 
turns around over one of the pins or studs, against the segment on 
the rack, and immediately re-engages its teeth in the opposite side 
of the rack, so carrying the bed back again. This motion is 
repeated at the opposite end of the rack, and the bed again stopped 
and returned by the pinion revolving against the segment and again 
over the rack, thus giving a reciprocating motion to the bed. 

In 1814 Koenig patented a continuously revolving Cylinder 



Press. The part of the periphery of the cylinder not used for 
giving the impression is slightly reduced in diameter, so as to allow 
the form to return under it freely after giving an impression. He 
showed designs adapting it for use as a single Cylinder Press, and 
also a two Cylinder Press, both for printing one side of the paper at 
a time ; likewise a two Cylinder Press for printing both sides of the 
paper at one operation. In this later press, the two forms were 
placed one at each end of a long bed, and the paper after being 
printed on one side by one cylinder, was carried by tapes over a 
registering roller to the other cylinder, where it was printed upon 
the reverse side. This press, termed a " perfecting press," was 
afterwards improved by Applegath & Cowper so as to be a very 
efficient machine. 

Koenig erected in the office of the London " Times " in 1814 
two of the two Cylinder Presses mentioned above, which printed on 
one side of the paper only, at the rate of 800 sheets per hour. 

Koenig, however, was not alone in his efforts to perfect a 
Cylinder Press. Various patents were gotten out by Bacon & Donkin 
in 1813; by Cowper in 1 8 1 6 and again in 1 8 1 8 ; and by Apple- 
gath in 1818. But the most ingenious and practical device in 
connection with the movements of a flat bed and a cylinder for 
printing machines was patented by Napier in 1828 and 1830. He 
was the first who introduced " grippers," or "fihgers," for the con- 
veyance of the sheets around the cylinder during the impression, and 
for delivering them after printing. Tapes or strings had previously 
been employed for this purpose. He was also the first to manufacture 
presses in which the impression cylinders are of small size and make 
two or more revolutions to each sheet printed, and he devised the 
toggles for bringing the cylinders down to print on the form and 
for raising them to let the form run back without touching. 

The news of these later inventions reached New York in due 
time, and in 1832 Robert Hoe, who had been some time established 



in the manufacture of printing presses, sent a young man, Sereno 
Newton (whom he afterwards took in partnership with him), to 



England to investigate the subject and see what improvements were 
worthy of adoption. The result was the construction of the 




machines known as the " Single Small Cylinder " and " Double 
Small Cylinder," also the large Cylinder " Perfecting " Press, which 
have continued, with many alterations and improvements, to be 
manufactured up to the present time. 

Hoe & Co. had previously made the first flat bed and cylinder 
press ever used in the United States. It was the pattern known as the 
" Single Large Cylinder," the whole circumference of the cylinder 
being equivalent to the entire travel of the bed forwards and back- 
wards, the cylinder making one revolution for each impression in 
printing, without stopping. Only a portion of the cylinder was em- 
ployed to take the impression, the remainder of its circumference being 



turned down small enough to allow the type on the bed to pass back 
under it without touching. Hundreds of these machines were made 
and are now in use, and they are still made at the present day, 
with patented sheet fliers and other devices and improvements in the 
methods of manufacture. Other similar presses were made later by 
the press-makers A. B. Taylor, A. Campbell, C. B. Cottrell, and 
C. Potter, Jr. 

The patented sheet flier before referred to, and which was 
used on the "Adams " bed and platen press, was greatly improved 
by Hoe & Co. and placed upon all their cylinder presses. 

Before proceeding further with an account of the faster news- 
paper presses, it may be well to complete the history of machines 
employed up to this time for book, job and woodcut printing. For 
this purpose the "Single Large Cylinder," already described, was 
first used. In England there were the" Napier " presses, the "Wharf- 
dale " and many others, all involving the same general principle, and 
capable of turning out more or less satisfactory work, in proportion 
to the perfection of their construction and the skill of those operat- 
ing them. Most of the English machines, however, show defects in 
mechanical construction. In fact, the supremacy of the American 
printing press is maintained in a large measure by the simplicity, 
accuracy and perfection of its mechanism. Foreign presses, made 
by the cheap labor of Europe, have been repeatedly brought to this 
country and introduced into printing offices. They have never, 
however, lasted long, most of them having perished in the using or 
been found unprofitable. 

There have been various modifications of the principle under- 
lying the Napier movement for flat-bed presses, i. e., having the 
driving wheel engage the rack at all times, reversing the movement 
by turning about the ends of the rack and driving the bed alter- 
nately in opposite directions. 

As early as 1 847 Hoe & Co. patented an entirely new bed 


driving mechanism. To a hanger fixed on the lower side of the 
bed were attached two racks facing each other, but not in the same 
vertical plane, and separated by a distance equal to the diameter of 
the driving wheel, which was on a horizontal shaft and movable 
sideways so as to engage in either one or other of the racks. By 
this means, a uniform movement was obtained in each direction. 

The reversal of the bed was accomplished by a roller at either 
end of the bed entering a recess in a disc on the driving shaft, 
which in a half revolution brought the bed to a stop and started it 
in the opposite direction. 

This involved a new principle; a crank action operating di- 
rectly upon the bed from a shaft having a fixed centre, and within 
recent years modifications of this patent have been successfully 
employed to drive the type bed at a high velocity and reverse it 
without shock or vibration. 

The "Miehle" Press is a modified form of this movement; 
the crank pin or roller is attached to the side of the bed wheel, 
and at the ends of the uniform movement it is enclosed within the 
walls of a vertical guideway formed at each end of the rack sup- 
porting frame, and passes through the length of this guide as it 
performs its function of reversing the bed. 

An improvement in this class of bed motions has lately been 
made and patented by Hoe & Co. In this machine the crank pin, 
which controls the reversal of the motion of the type bed, moves in 
a rectilinear instead of a circular pathway. As the motion of the 
crank is thus directly in line with the travel of the bed, it is possible 
to lock the journal box, enclosing the pin, securely to the bed, while 
the bed is being controlled by the action of the crank, and thereby 
avoids the friction and consequent wear of parts that occur when 
the crank pin moves in a circular line. The movement of the 
crank is obtained from the rotatory motion of the bed wheel, and 
has the same varying velocities as would be derived from a crank 


traveling in a circular pathway. It, therefore, checks the momen- 
tum of the bed with ease, brings the bed to rest, and returns it 
with an accelerating motion while under positive control. The 
wearing of parts is thus reduced to the minimum, insuring an ac- 
curacy of register and exactness of motion hitherto unattainable. 
A press with a bed measuring 48 x 65 inches runs without jar or 
vibration at a speed of 1,800 impressions an hour. 

The press of the present day from which the finest letterpress 
and woodcut work is turned off is known as the "Stop Cylinder." 
This was devised and patented by a Frenchman named Dutartre, 
in 1852, and introduced into this country about 1853 by Hoe & 
Co., who have since patented many improvements upon it. It was a 
surprise to many printers to find that this machine could do work 
which heretofore it had been supposed the hand press only was 
capable of performing. 

The Stop Cylinder Press may be described as follows: The 
type is secured upon a traveling iron bed, which moves back and 
forth upon friction rollers of steel, the bed being driven by a simple 
crank motion, stopping and starting it without noise or jar. All 
the running portions of this bed are made of fine steel as hard as it 
can be worked. The cylinder is stopped by a cam motion pend- 
ing the backward travel of the bed, and during the interval of 
rest the sheet is fed down against the guides and the grippers 
closed upon it before the cylinder starts, thus insuring the utmost 
accuracy of register. After the impression, the sheet is trans- 
ferred to a skeleton cylinder, also containing grippers, which re- 
ceives, and delivers it, over fine cords, upon the sheet flier, which in 
turn deposits it upon the table. The distribution of the ink is 
effected partly by a vibrating, polished, steel cylinder, and partly 
upon a flat table at the end of the traveling bed, the number of form- 
inking rollers varying from four to six. This is without doubt the 
most perfect flat bed cylinder printing machine that has ever been 


devised. It is made in various sizes. The average output of one 
of these presses with a bed 36x54 inches is from 1,000 to 1,500 
impressions per hour. 

The demand being constantly for machines taking on larger 
sized forms, there has been lately constructed and patented by R. 
Hoe & Co. an entirely new Stop Cylinder Press, having a bed 45 x 62 
inches, and which can be run at a speed of i ,700 impressions an hour. 
The main points of difference between the Stop Cylinder Press for 
type forms and the Lithographic Press is in the form of the bed only, 
the other portions, including the driving apparatus, being almost 
identical ; therefore the same general description applies to these 
new machines for both classes of work. A great objection to flat- 
bed presses of large size has always been the height of the cylinder 
from the floor, necessitated by the increased dimensions of the driv- 
ing apparatus under the bed. In these new presses the bed is recip- 
rocated as usual by a crank motion, but made exceptionally strong 
and compounded. This method of construction not only gives the 
increased speed but makes the bed of the machine low down, so 
that it is better under the hand and eye of the operator. The 
product of the machine is delivered printed side up, Sy a patented 
take-ofF apparatus, which takes the sheets from the impression cyl- 
inder by grippers in a reciprocating carriage and deposits them 
upon a table. No tapes or guides come in contact with the freshly 
printed ink. 

Keeping pace with the improved methods and machines 
employed in typographic printing, and influenced thereby, the litho- 
graphic and kindred branches of printing have also made progress, 
induced mainly, however, by the general striving for more rapid 
and economical production. This has been accomplished by using 
larger stones, paper and machines, and by employing rotary ma- 
chines for some work. The use of curved stones for lithography 
being impracticable for many reasons, a substitute was found in 


plates or sheets made of zinc or aluminum, which, when properly 
prepared, possess properties akin to those in lithographic stones. 
Being flexible, these sheets are easily stretched over the curved sur- 
face of a cylinder. Although the development of this branch or' 
printing is due, chiefly, to the French and Germans, much has 
been done in this country toward its improvement, and work is 
produced upon Rotary Zincographic or Aluminum Presses that 
compares favorably with that produced from stones, and at double 
the speed. The smaller of these presses, printing only one color at 
a time, prints on sheets 30 x 44 inches, at a speed up to 2,000 im- 
pressions per hour ; the larger presses of the same kind print on 
sheets 44 x 64 inches, at a speed up to i ,700 impressions per hour, 
although the machines may be run even faster, according to the 
dexterity of the feeder. 

Two-Color Rotary Presses are in successful operation in dif- 
ferent parts of this country. In these machines there are two plate 
cylinders and one impression cylinder, each of the plate cylinders 
having its own inking and dampening appliances. The sheet of 
paper, after being fed to the grippers of the impression cylinder, 
receives one printing from the first plate cylinder, and a second 
printing, in a different color, from the second plate cylinder, and is 
then released from the grippers and delivered in the usual manner 
by the sheet flier. The size of the sheets printed is 44 x 64 inches, 
and running at a speed of 1,700 revolutions per hour, the number 
of printings is 3,400, or double that obtained from the one-color 
machine of the same size. 

We now return to a further consideration of the newspaper press. 
The " Single Small Cylinder " and " Double Small Cylinder " 
machines heretofore described as primarily the invention of Napier, 
and perfected by Hoe & Co. and made by them, came into general 
use in the United States. In construction and for the quantity and 
quality of work produced they excelled any made in England ; the 



output of one of the "Single Cylinder" presses reaching 2,000 
impressions per hour, or about as fast as the feeder could lay down 
the sheets. When still greater speed was required the " Double 
Cylinder " press was used, the travel of the bed being of such length 
that the form of type passed backward and forward under both cyl- 
inders. Two feeders accordingly put in the sheets ; the maximum 
speed obtained being about 2,000 from each cylinder, or 4,000 from 
the two cylinders per hour, printed on one side. It was evident, 
both in England and America, that something faster must be 
devised. The growing demand for papers containing the latest 
news necessitated increasing effort on the part of the machine- 
makers. The presses of Dryden & Ford, Middleton, and others 
in England failed to meet the requirements there, as did the 
"Single" and Double" Cylinders in America. 

In 1845 an d 1846 the firm of R. Hoe & Co. in New York 
were busily engaged upon plans and inventions for presses which 
should meet the increased requirements of the newspapers in America. 
The result was the construction of a press known as the " Hoe Type 
Revolving Machine," embodying patents taken out by Richard M. 
Hoe. The first one of these machines was placed in the "Ledger" 
office in Philadelphia, in i 846. The basis of these inventions con- 
sisted in an apparatus for securely fastening the forms of type on a 
central cylinder placed in a horizontal position. This was accom- 
plished by the construction of cast-iron beds, one for each page of 
the newspaper. The column rules were made " V ' ' shaped ; i. e., 
tapering toward the feet of the type. It was found that, with proper 
arrangement for locking up or securing the type upon these beds, it 
could be held firmly in position, the surface form a true circle, and 
the cylinder revolved at any speed required without danger of the 
type falling out. Around this central cylinder from four to ten 
impression cylinders, according to the output required, were grouped. 
The sheets were fed in by boys, and taken from the feed board 

3 1 


by automatic grippers, or ringers, operated by cams in the impres- 
sion cylinders, and which conveyed them around against the revolv- 
ing form of the central cylinder. Here again a great advantage was 
gained by the use of the patented sheet rlier, consisting of a row of 
long wooden fingers fastened to the shaft, and operated by a cam and 
springs; the sheet after printing being conducted out underneath 
each feed board by means of tapes to the sheet fliers, which laid 
them in piles on tables ; the number of fliers and tables correspond- 
ing to the number of impression cylinders. The inking was accomp- 
lished by the use of composition rollers placed between each of the 
impression cylinders ; the fountain being below, underneath the 
main type cylinder. The portion of the surface of this type cylin- 
der, not occupied by the type itself, was utilized as a distributing 
table, its surface being lower than that of the type, and the inking 
rollers rising and falling alternately to place the ink on the type and 
receive a new supply from the distributing surface. The first of 
these presses had only four impression cylinders, necessitating four 
boys to feed the sheets. The running speed obtained was about 
2,000 sheets to each feeder per hour, thus giving, with what was 
called a " Four Feeder" or "Four Cylinder" machine, a running 
capacity of about 8,000 papers, per hour, printed upon one side. As 
the demands of the newspapers increased, more impression cylinders 
were added, until these machines were made with as many as ten 
grouped around the central cylinder, giving an aggregate speed of 
about 20,000 papers per hour printed upon one side. A revolution 
in newspaper printing took place. Journals which before had been 
limited in their circulation by their inability to furnish the papers 
rapidly increased their issues, and many new ones were started. The 
new presses were adopted not only throughout the United States, but 
also in Great Britain. The first one put up abroad was erected 
in 1848, in the office of "La Patrie" in Paris, but the downfall of 
the Republic and the re-imposition of a stamp duty, soon put 


an end to all enterprise in French newspaper publishing. The 
English, always slow to adopt improvements, did not appreciate 
the value of these presses until the year 1856, when Edward Lloyd 
of " Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper " in London, having seen the one 
in the office of "La Patrie," ordered a " Six-Cylinder" machine. 
This was erected in his office in Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, Lon- 
don, in the following year. It was no sooner in operation and 
seen by the other newspaper proprietors than orders were received 
from the London " Times " for two " Ten-Cylinder " presses, to 
replace the Applegath machine they were then using. The 
order for these machines was a gratifying tribute to American 
ingenuity, for the "Times" in December, 1848, in an article on 
the starting of the Applegath vertical cylinder press, stated that " No 
art of packing could make the type adhere to a cylinder revolving 
around a horizontal axis and thereby aggravating centrifugal impulse 
by the intrinsic weight of the metal." Eventually orders from 
almost all of the leading newspapers in Great Britain and Ireland 
were received. 

In the meantime various experiments had demonstrated the 
possibility of casting stereotype plates on a curve. The process 
was brought to perfection by the use of flexible paper matrices, 
upon which the metal was cast in curved moulds to any circle de- 
sired, and these plates were placed upon the Hoe " Type Revolving 
Machine" upon beds adapted to receive them instead of the type forms. 
The newspaper publishers were thus enabled to duplicate the forms, 
and run several machines at the same time with a view of turning 
out the papers with greater rapidity. In some large offices, such 
as the New York " Herald," London " Daily Telegraph," and the 
London " Standard," as many as five of these machines were in 
constant operation. About this time the stamp duty in England 
of one penny upon each sheet of printed matter was repealed. This 
in itself aided materially in the development of the newspaper press. 



After the return of Koenig to Germany, an Englishman named 
Applegath, in connection with a machinist named C'owper, made 
various improvements, mostly in the way of simplifying Koenig's 
presses. After many experiments, they in 1848 constructed for the 
London "Times" an elaborate machine, entirely upon the cylindri- 
cal principle. All of the cylinders of this machine instead of being 
horizontal, as in presses heretofore used, were vertical The type 
was placed upon a large upright central cylinder, but the circum- 
ference instead of presenting a complete circle represented as many 
flat surfaces as there were columns in the newspaper, the forms thus 
being polygonal. Around this central or form cylinder were 
placed eight smaller vertical cylinders for taking the impression, 
inking rollers being introduced to ink the type as it passed alter- 
nately from one of these impression cylinders to another. The 
sheets were fed down by hand from eight flat horizontal feed-boards 
through tapes ; then grasped by another set of tapes and passed side- 
ways between the impression cylinder and the type cylinder, thus 
obtaining sheets printed upon one side. The impression cylinder 
delivered them, still in a vertical position, into the hands of boys, 
one stationed at each cylinder to receive them. The results ob- 
tained from this machine were in a measure satisfactory, as the 
number of papers printed per hour upon one side, from one form 
of type, was materially increased ; not, however, in proportion 
to the number of impression cylinders placed around it, as the 
press at its best could produce but 8,000 impressions per hour, 
on one side of the sheets. Having devised no means to lock 
up the type other than in flat columns, the polygonal form was 
a necessity, and the irregularities in it were made up by under- 
laying the blankets on the impression cylinders to take up these 
inequalities. Although this press, used in the London "Times" 
office, was the only one of the kind ever made, its size and 
importance warrant some record and description of it. This 

X JU7 . 



machine was taken out to make way for Hoe Type Revolving 

In 1835 Sir Rowland Hill had suggested the possibilities of a 
machine which should print both sides at once from a roll of paper. 
It is well known that for many years cotton cloths had been printed 
in this way, the cylinders being engraved and the cloth after print- 
ing being reeled up again. The suggestion, however, was accom- 
panied by no practical knowledge as to the details, and, above all, no 
practical provision for the rapid cutting off and delivery of the 
paper either before or after it had been printed. It remained for an 
American, William Bullock, of Philadelphia, to construct, in 1865, 
the first printing machine to print from a continuous web or roll of 
paper. His machine consisted of two pairs of cylinders, i. e., two form 
or plate cylinders and two impression cylinders. The second impres- 
sion cylinder was made of large size to provide additional tympan 
surface, to lessen the offset from the first printed side of the paper. 
The stereotype plates were not made to fill the whole circumference 
of each of the form cylinders, as the sheets were cut before print- 
ing. One difficulty he had to contend with was the cutting off of 
the sheets with sufficient accuracy and rapidity. This he accomp- 
lished by severing them by means of knives in cylinders. The 
sheets were then carried through the press by tapes and fingers, and 
delivery sought to be accomplished by means of a series of auto- 
matic metal nippers placed upon endless leather belts at such distance 
apart as to grasp each sheet successively as it came from the last 
printing cylinders. This machine was put up in several offices and 
rejected because of its unreliability, especially in the delivery of the 
papers, but it was finally so far perfected that it came into use to a 
considerable extent. 

Meanwhile the proprietors of the London "Times" inaugu- 
rated experiments with the view of making a rotary perfecting press, 
and finally started the first one in that office about 1868. It was 



similar in construction to the "Bullock " press so far as the print- 
ing apparatus was concerned, excepting that the cylinders were all 
of one size and placed one above the other. The sheets were sev- 
ered after printing, brought up by tapes, and carried down to a 
sheet flier which moved back and forth, and " flirted" the sheets 
alternately into the hands of two boys seated opposite one another 
on either side of the sheet flier. 

Marinoni, of Paris, also devised a machine on a similar principle, 
making the impression and the form cylinder of one size, and 
placed them one above the other. The "Marinoni" machine had 
separate fly boards for the delivery of the sheets. 

In 1871 R. Hoe & Co. also turned their attention to the con- 
struction of a rotary perfecting press to print from a roll or con- 
tinuous web of paper. 

As before stated, the greatest difficulties to be encountered 

First. The set-off of the first side. 

Devices were used to overcome this and the ink-makers were 
induced to pay special attention to the manufacture of rapid-drying 
or non-setting-ofF inks. 

Second. The difficulties in obtaining paper in the roll of uni- 
form perfection and strength. The paper-makers were led to make 
a study of producing large rolls of paper meeting these require- 
ments, and became much more experienced in its manufacture. 
The "Walter" press in the "Times" office had necessitated a very 
strong and expensive paper, which could not be afforded by the 
cheap daily press. 

Third. The difficulty of the rapid severing of the sheets after 

Fourth. A reliable and accurate delivery of the printed 

These last two operations were not accomplished satisfactorily 




until the appearance of the Hoe machine. In this press the sheets 
were not entirely severed by the cutters, but simply perforated after 
the printing. They were then drawn by accelerating tapes, which 
completely separated them, onto a gathering cylinder so constructed 
that six perfect papers, or any other desired number, could be 
gathered one over the other. These, by means of a switch, were 
at the proper moment turned off onto one sheet flier, which de- 
posited them on the receiving board. This gathering and delivery 
cylinder, patented by Stephen D. Tucker, a member of the firm of 
R. Hoe & Co., solved the problem of rapid flat delivery. The 
first of these machines was placed in the office of " Lloyd's Weekly 
Newspaper," in London, and the first one used in the United States 
in the " Tribune " office in New York. There was no limit to 
their capacity for printing excepting the ability of the paper to 
stand the strain of passing through the press, which produced, when 
put to its speed, 18,000 perfect papers an hour, delivered accurately 
on one feed-board. The average speed, however, in printing offices 
was i 2,000, although in some offices they were run at about 14,000 
per hour. 

The "Walter" press, made by the London "Times," was 
used by it, and also by the London " Daily News" and by the New 
York " Times." Further than that it made no progress and has 
now gone entirely out of use, the presses of this kind in the Lon- 
don " Times " office having been replaced by machines made by 
R. Hoe & Co. Meantime their machines were adopted by most 
of the large newspapers in the United States and Great Britain. 

These new methods, of course, entirely superseded the " Hoe 
Type Revolving Machine," which had reigned supreme in the news- 
paper world for over twenty years, and of which one hundred and 
seventy-five had been made, almost all of which have now disap- 

Up to the middle of the last century the paper had been 



made from rags, but us these became unobtainable in sufficient quan- 
titv some substitute had to be found. First straw and afterwards 
wood pulp was successfully employed, and paper made from the latter 
is now in universal use. Its cheapness (averaging now about three 
cents per pound) materially aided the newspapers, and stimulated the 
printing machine manufacturers to renewed efforts in devising presses 
of still greater speed and efficiency. 

It was desirable also that the papers should be delivered folded 
ready for the carrier or mail. The first apparatus to accomplish this 
was similar in design to the hand-fed folding machine in common 
use in printing offices. The sheets, fed separately into these machines, 
were carried by tapes running upon pulleys under striking blades, 
which forced them between pairs of folding rollers. After the first 
fold they were again carried in a similar manner under striking 
blades, placed at right angles to the first, and again struck down 
between rollers to receive a second fold. This action was continued 
until the desired number of folds had been secured. Folders of this 
description were- attached to the fast presses, but none made could 
be worked at a greater speed than about 8,000 per hour, until in 
1875 Stephen D. Tucker patented a rotating folding cylinder which 
folded papers as fast as they came from the press, or 15,000 in the 
hour. The striking blade folders were used in the " Bullock" press, 
in machines made by C. Potter, Jr., & Co. and others. Andrew 
Campbell, a printing press manufacturer, also constructed a rotary 
perfecting press, but his devices were not original. Four or 
five machines were made by him, and these soon went out 
of use. 

The first folders made by Hoe & Co. consisted of the combi- 
nation of a "gathering cylinder" with a rotary folding cylinder 
and tapes conveying the printed sheets under horizontal folding 
blades, somewhat similar to those before described, which thrust 
them at the proper moment between folding rollers placed at alter- 




nate angles, finally delivering them on travelling belts by a small 
flier. The first of these folding machines were put upon the presses 
made for the Philadelphia " Times" and operated in the Centennial 
Exhibition, in 1876. 

These folders, however, were only the commencement of a 
long series of experiments undertaken by the makers in the devel- 
opment of still faster printing and folding mechanisms, and from 
this time forward the progress made has been phenomenal. With 
great ingenuity, added to long experience, and by the acquisition 
and adaptation of every device which should aid them in their efforts, 
Hoe & Co. succeeded in providing machines of unrivalled designs, 
efficiency and speed. 

About i 876 Messrs. Anthony & Taylor of England (the former 
one of the owners of a newspaper in Hereford) took out patents 
for devices by which the webs of paper could be turned over after 
printing on one side and the opposite or reversed side presented to 
the printing cylinder. Mr. Hoe, who was in England at the time, 
appreciating the possible use and development of these patents, became 
possessed of them for England and the United States. 

E. L. Ford, engaged in the publication of a newspaper in New 
York, patented the uniting of the product of two or more printing 
mechanisms and thus producing (in restricted form) a multiple 
number of pages at one time. He was unable, however, to develop 
his plans to any practical result ; but deserves the credit of being the 
first to patent, if not to conceive, the idea of the association of 
printed sheets for this purpose. 

In the various experiments of Hoe & Co. bearing upon the 
manipulation of webs of paper some of their devices appeared to 
encroach upon patents secured by Luther C. Crowell, inventor, of 
Boston, who had made an ingenious machine for forming paper bags. 
These patents were immediately secured by purchase and the experi- 
mental work proceeded with the view of adapting some of them to 


the requirements of the printing prt After many efforts, and 

the failure and destruction of several machines which had been con- 
structed at great expense, the Hoe " Double Supplement " machine 
was produced, the first one being purchased by James Gordon Ben- 
nett of the New York " Herald " and put to work in his office. 
The result of these efforts has been, for a third time, a complete 
revolution of the methods of fast newspaper printing. The most 
remarkable features of this machine are: Its extreme simplicity, 
considering the varied work it performs, and its great speed, accuracy 
and efficiency. It turns out either four, six, eight, ten or twelve 
page papers at 24,000 per hour, and sixteen page papers at 12,000 
per hour ; the odd pages being in every case accurately inserted and 
pasted in, and the papers cut at top and delivered folded. This 
machine is constructed in two parts, the cylinders in one portion being 
twice the length of those in the other; the short cylinders being 
used for the supplements of the paper when it is desired to print more 
than eight pages. The plates being secured on the cylinders, the 
paper enters from the two rolls into the two portions of the machine, 
through each of which it is carried between the two pairs of type 
and impression cylinders, and printed on both sides, after which the 
two broad ribbons or "webs" pass over turning bars and other 
devices, by which they are laid evenly one over the other, and 
pasted together. The webs of paper then pass down upon a triang- 
ular " former," which folds them along the center margin. They 
are then taken over a cylinder, from which they receive the final 
fold, a revolving blade within this cylinder projecting and thrusting 
the paper between folding rollers, while at the same moment a knife 
in the same cylinder severs the sheet, and a rapidly revolving mech- 
anism, resembling in its motion the fingers of a hand, causes their 
accurate disposal upon traveling belts, which convey them on for 
final removal. From this rather summary description it will be 
apparent that the principle of retaining the paper in the web, or unsev- 

S 1 




ered form, up to the final fold and delivery, and performing all 
the operations without retarding the onward run of the paper, 
effectually prevents chokes or stoppages through any miscarriage 
of sheets severed before the folding. Several hundred of these 
machines have been made and put in operation by the United States ; 
and in offices of the large newspapers in Great Britain and other 

Previous to the introduction of the " Double Supplement " 
press, however, Hoe & Co. had made what is known as the " Double 
Perfecting" machine. The success of this press, which embraces 
substantially the printing and folding devices embodied in the " Double 
Supplement " machine, was the connecting link between the ordi- 
nary " single " or two-page-wide press and the " Double Supplement " 

The next improvement in fast presses was the construction of 
the machine known as the " Quadruple " Newspaper Press. This 
was a step in advance of anything heretofore attempted. The 
first one was constructed in 1887 and placed in the office of the New 
York " World." The same principles were embraced in this as in 
the " Double Supplement," but developed to a greater extent. The 
supplement portion of the press was increased in width. By means 
of ingenious arrangements and manipulation of the webs of paper 
this press was made to produce eight-page papers at a running speed 
of 48,000 per hour ; also 24,000 per hour of either ten, twelve, 
fourteen or sixteen page papers ; all delivered with great exactness 
and perfection ; cut at the top, pasted and folded ready for the carrier 
or the mails. 

Another form of the Double Supplement and Quadruple ma- 
chines, embodying substantially the same principles, is what has 
been termed the "straight-line" press. In this form of construc- 
tion the cylinders are arranged in horizontal rows, or tiers, one 
above the other, there being two pairs of cylinders in each tier, 



with the folding and delivery apparatus at the end of the machine. 
Some of these presses, made under the patent of Joseph L. Finn, 
and which belong to R. Hoe & Co., have been constructed. 

It was thought that the limit of printing capacity in one 
machine had been reached in this new invention, but in 1889 the 
same firm undertook the task of constructing a machine for Mr. 
Bennett of the " New York Herald," which would even eclipse the 
" Quadruple" machine, which had, together with the " Double Sup- 
plement " press, superseded almost all others in the large offices of 
the United States, as well as in Great Britain and Australia. The 
press made for the " New York Herald " and known as the " Sex- 
tuple " machine, occupied about eighteen months in construction. 
It is composed of about sixteen thousand pieces. The general 
arrangement differs entirely from that of the "Quadruple " machine. 
The form and impression cylinders are all placed parallel, instead of 
any being at right angles as in the "Quadruple " and " Double Sup- 
plement " Presses. To give an idea of this machine, we cannot do 
better than to quote the description of it in the " New York Herald " 
of May loth, 1891. 

" The new Hoe press which is being set up in the ' Herald ,' 
Building is nothing less than a miracle of mechanism. To say 
that it is the only one of the kind ever built and that it throws all 
previous inventions into the background are facts which the follow- 
ing figures abundantly prove. 

" Its consumption of white paper is so astounding that even the 
imagination grows tired and sits down to catch its breath. It is fed 
from three rolls, each being more than five feet wide. When it 
settles down to show its best work it will use up in one hour nearly 
twenty-six miles of this paper, or to make the matter more signifi- 
cant, it will use up about fifty-two miles of paper the ordinary width 
of the * Herald ' every sixty minutes. 

" Our readers will be startled to learn that it can print and fold 



ninety thousand four-page * Heralds ' in an hour. This is, to the 
mind, which is not versed in the problem of rapid printing, a feat 
which makes Aladdin's lamp an old woman's fable. Ninety thou- 
sand per hour means fifteen hundred copies per minute, or twenty- 
five copies for every second of time ticked by the clock in Trinity's 

" It is, of course, the last and best result of modern invention 
the highest attainment of genius at the present time. 

" This new press will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver 
72,000 eight-page ' Heralds ' in one hour, which is equivalent to 
1,200 a minute and 20 a second. 

" It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 48,000 
ten or twelve-page ' Heralds ' in one hour, which is equivalent to 
800 a minute and a fraction over i 3 a second. 

" It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 36,000 
sixteen-page ' Heralds ' an hour, which is at the rate of 600 a 
minute or 10 a second. 

"It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 
24,000 fourteen, twenty or twenty-four page ' Heralds ' an hour, 
which is at the rate of 400 a minute, or very nearly seven a second. 

"This is lightning work with a vengeance and yet it is possible 
that there may be some who read this who will live to call it slow. 
That will probably be when they have found out all about how to 
put a harness on electricity. No one can predict when inventive 
genius will reach its limit in the printing press. But for the present 
this new press marks high water mark. 

" Before this press was built the fastest presses in the world 
were Hoe's 'Quadruple' Presses, of which the * Herald' has two. 
These presses turn out 48,000 four, six or eight-page papers an hour, 
24,000 ten, twelve, fourteen or sixteen-page papers an hour, and 
1 2,000 twenty or twenty-four-page papers an hour, all cut, pasted 
and folded. 



"This new press has a well-nigh insatiable appetite for white 
paper. To satisfy it, it is fed from three rolls at the same time, one 
roll being attached at either end of the press and the third suspended 
near the center. It is the only press that has ever been able to 
accomplish that feat. Each roll is sixty-three inches wide, or twice 
the width of the * Herald.' When doing its best this press will 
consume 25 7 * miles of sixty-three-inch-wide paper equivalent to 
51 ^4 miles of paper the width of the '- Herald' in one hour, and 
eject it at the two deliveries in the shape of * Heralds,' each copy 
containing an epitome of the news of the world for the preceding 
twenty-four hours, and each copy cut, pasted and folded ready for 
delivery to the * Herald ' readers. It is a sight worth seeing to 
see it done. Certainly we know of nothing else which affords such 
a striking example of the triumph of mechanical genius. 

" A man turns a lever, shafts and cylinders begin to revolve, 
the whirring noise settles into a steady roar, you see three streams 
of white paper pouring into the machine from the three huge rolls, 
and you pass around to the other side it is literally snowing news- 
papers at each of the two delivery outlets. So fast does one paper 
follow the other that you catch only a momentary glitter from the 
deft steel fingers that seize the papers and cast them out. 

" The machine weighs about fifty-eight tons. It is massive 
and strong, with the strength of a thousand giants. And yet 
though its arms are of steel and its motions are all as rapid as light- 
ning, its touch is as tender as that of a woman when she carries her 
babe. How else does the machine avoid tearing the paper ? It 
tears very readily, as you often ascertain accidentally when turning 
over the leaves. Truly wonderful it is, and mysterious to anybody 
but an expert, how this huge machine can make newspapers at the 
rate of twenty-five a second without rending the paper all to shreds. 

" It has six plate cylinders, each cylinder carrying eight stereo- 
type plates, which represent eight pages of the ' Herald,' and six 


impression cylinders. These cylinders, when the press is working 
at full speed make 200 revolutions a minute. The period of con- 
tact between the paper and the plate cylinders is therefore incon- 
ceivably brief, and how in that fractional space of time a perfect 
impression is made, even to the reproduction of such fine lines as 
are shown in these illustrations, is one of those things which, to 
the man who is not 'up' in mechanics, must forever remain a 
mystery. But that it does it you know, because you have the evi- 
dence of your own eyes 

" A double folder forms part of this machine. A single folder 
would not be equal to the task imposed upon it. As it is, this 
double folder has to exercise such celerity to keep up with the 
streams of printed paper that descend upon it that its operations are 
too quick for the eye to follow. 

"The press has two delivery outlets. At each the papers are 
automatically counted in piles of fifty. No matter how rapidly the 
papers come out, there is never a mistake in the count. It is as sure 
as fate. By an ingenious contrivance if I should attempt to 
describe it more definitely most people would be none the wiser 
each fiftieth paper is shoved out an inch beyond the others that 
have been dropped onto the receiving tapes, thus serving as a sort of 
tally mark. 

"Truly it is a marvelous machine this Sextuple press. No- 
where will you find a more perfect adaption of means to ends; 
nowhere in any branch of industry a piece of mechanism which 
offers a finer example of what human skill and ingenuity is capable 
of. And it is free from that reproach which is sometimes brought 
against the greatest triumph of inventive genius in other depart- 
ments of human activity that they make mere automatons out of 
human beings. 

" The printing press is synonymous with progress, with the 
diffusion of knowledge and the spread of ideas. Without the great 



improvements that have been made in it within the memory of 
many men now living the modern newspaper, the best friend of 
liberty, and the greatest toe of tyranny, would be an impossibility. 
It has more than kept pace with the advancement in other depart- 
ments of industry. In 1829 the Washington Hand Press was 
introduced and regarded as quite a mechanical triumph. At its In-xt 
it printed 250 impressions an hour on one side, or i 25 complete 
newspapers of insignificant dimensions. Now, a little over sixty 
years later, a machine is brought out which, when the number of 
papers alone is compared, does 150 times as much work in the same 
time, and which, if the comparison is extended to the actual amount 
of printing done, does over 2,000 times as much work." 

About 1871 a machine called the "Prestonian" was made by 
Foster, a machinist of Preston, England, and two or three were 
set to work, but did not enjoy any great degree of favor. They 
embodied a combination of the "Hoe Type Revolving Machine" 
with the "endless sheet perfecting press." The form of type for 
one side of the paper was placed upon one cylinder, with impression 
cylinders around it, in the manner of the Hoe press, and the form 
for the other side on another cylinder, and the paper passed from 
one set of impression cylinders to the other. The principal objec- 
tion to this machine was its lack of speed. The same principle, 
however, had been developed years before in the "type revolving 
perfecting" presses (made by Hoe & Co.) which have two sets of 
type forms on separate large cylinders, the sheets being fed in by 
hand and conveyed from one impression cylinder to the other and 
against the forms by means of fingers or grippers. The sheets were 
then delivered on a sheet flier. These presses were especially de- 
signed for printing books, of which large numbers were required, 
such as text books and spelling books. The contents of a whole 
book could be placed on these cylinders and printed and delivered 
at one impression. One of these machines constructed in 1852 



(fifty years ago) is still in operation at Messrs. D. Appleton & Co.'s 
printing office in Brooklyn, as active and efficient as ever. 

In 1 88 1 Hoe & Co. turned their attention to the making of a 
machine which should print FROM ONE FORM OF TYPE at a greater 
speed than had ever yet been attained. The result was the "Ro- 
tary Type Endless-sheet Perfecting Press." The principle of this 


machine was in a measure that of their "Type-Revolving" press. 
The forms of type for both sides of the paper were placed on a 
central cylinder, which was surrounded by impression cylinders and 
inking rollers. 

There, were, however, no feeders and no grippers. The roll of 
paper was placed at the end of the press, passed around the impres- 
sion cylinders arranged at one side of the form cylinder, and then 
turned upside down at the lower part of the machine, thence being 
carried upwards. The opposite or unprinted side was presented in 
turn between each impression cylinder and the forms. If fourimpres- 


sion cylinders were placed around the central cylinder then at each 
revolution of the latter four. perfect papers were printed. It eight 
impression cylinders were placed around the central cylinder then 
eight perfect papers were printed at one revolution of the main or 
form cylinder. The speed attained by this machine with four impres- 
sion cylinders was about i 2,000 per hour, and from machines with 
eight impression cylinders 24,000 copies per hour were printed. 
This press was especially adapted for afternoon papers when the time 
or expense necessarily involved in stereotyping could not be afforded. 
The majority of the machines made were provided with four impres- 
sion cylinders only. In the machines with eight impression cylinders 
two rolls were used, one at either end of the machine, the paper 
from each roll passing under the two first impression cylinders on 
either side, each web then being turned over, and paper passed be- 
tween the two remaining cylinders on either side to print the oppo- 
site sides of the sheets. 

In this machine a folding apparatus was placed at each end to 
receive the product of the rolls, but in the machine with four impres- 
sion cylinders only one folder was placed, at the end of the machine 
opposite that at which the paper entered. 

The experience gained in the construction of these fast news- 
paper machines, and the accumulation of patented devices entering 
into them, which were numbered by the score, had their influence 
in the improvements which were made upon presses for the printing 
of weekly newspapers, periodicals and magazines. 

In 1888 was introduced a patented Hoe machine called the 
"Three-page-wide Press." It has a capacity of printing, perfecting 
and delivering two-page papers, with one fold, at the rate of 60,000 
per hour ; four-page papers, with two folds, at 24,000 per hour, six- 
page papers at 24,000 per hour; eight-page papers, folded twice, or to 
carrier size, at I 2,000 per hour, and twelve-page papers, folded in 
the same manner as the eight-page, at the same speed, viz., I 2,000 



per hour; all the supplement sheets being inset and pasted if de- 

The prominent features of this machine are : 

The outside pages may receive the first or the last impression 


at will, thus enabling large cuts and other similar work to be printed 
without offset. 

Grippers and horizontal folding knives and all tapes but short 
leaders are done away with in the delivery and folding mechanisms, 
the movements being all rotary. 

The press occupies but a small space on the floor, being 
6 feet i inch high, 8 feet wide and 1 5 feet 5 inches long 
over all. 

In 1889 Hoe & Co. constructed a patented perfecting machine 
in which the plates, or forms, for both sides are placed upon one 
cylinder, one side of the form of matter being placed upon one end, 


or half of the cylinder, and the other side upon the opposite portion 
of the cylinder. One imprevion cylinder only is used, and the 
inking apparatus is greatly extended. This machine is remarkable 
for the great variety of work it will do. At a high rate of speed, 
sheets of eight, sixteen, twenty-four and so on up to ninety-six or 
one hundred and twenty-eight pages may be printed and delivered 
folded in either I 2mo, 8vo, 410 or folio sizes, ready for the binder. 
The press does the work of ten flat-bed cylinder presses and ten 
hand-feed folding machines. The paper is supplied to the machine 
from the roll, and after printing passes over the "former" into the 
folding machine, where the folding and cutting cylinders produce 
the required number of pages in the form desired. Curved electro- 
types are now made successfully and this press was the first to 
bring the printing of the average book and catalogue within the 
range of web press work. While in general principles this machine 
is similar to the large newspaper perfecting presses, though very 
much smaller in bulk, it has increased facilities for distribution, and 
finer adjustments throughout. The plates admit of underlays and 
overlays the same as on a flat-bed press. There are no tapes, the 
folding being done on rollers and small cylinders without smutting 
the printing. In the folding apparatus there are knives which cut 
the sheet into the right size for folding, after which they are au- 
tomatically delivered counted in lots of fifty each. The speed on a 
thirty-two page form is about 16,000 copies per hour. This style 
of machine is probably destined to revolutionize book and pamph- 
let printing, as it combines the finest construction and facility of 
operation with the greatest speed. 

In 1886 a further advance was made toward perfection in the 
rotary system of printing as adapted to doing fine work, in the construc- 
tion for Theodore L. De Vinne, the printer of the " Century" Maga- 
zine, by Hoe & Co., of a perfecting press to do the plain 
forms of that periodical. The machine was described in the 




magazine, in an article written by Mr. De Vinne, here quoted 

(Extract from article published in the u Century" Magazine, November, 1890.) 

"At the end of a long row of machinery stands the web press 
a massive and complicated construction, especially built by Hoe & 
Co. for printing, cutting and folding the plain and advertising pages 
of the * Century.' Web presses for newspapers are common enough, 
but this press has distinction as the first, and for three years the only, 
web press used in this country, for good book work. At one end 
of the machine is a great roll of paper more than two miles long 
when unwound, and weighing about 750 pounds. As the paper un- 
winds it passes first over a jet of steam which slightly dampens and 
softens its hard surface and fits it for receiving impressions, without 
leaving it wet or sodden. It passes under a plate cylinder, on which 
are thirty-two curved plates, inked by seven large rollers, which print 
thirty-two pages on one side. Then it passes around a reversing cyl- 


inder which presents the other side ot" the paper to another plate cyl- 
inder, on which are thirty-two plates which print exactly on the back 
the proper pages for the thirty-two previously printed. ThU i* done 
quickly in less than two seconds but with exactness. But the web 
ot" paper is still uncut. To do this it is drawn upward under a small 
cylinder containing a concealed knife, which cuts the printed web in 
strips two leave> wide and four leaves long. As soon as cut the sheets 
are thrown forward on endless belts of tape. An ingenious but unde- 
tectable mechanism gives to every alternate sheet a quicker move- 
ment, so that it falls exactly over its predecessor, making two lapped 
strips of paper. Busy little adjusters now come in play, placing these 
lapped sheets of paper accurately up to a head and a side guide. 
Without an instant of delay down comes a strong creasing blade over 
the long center of the sheet, and pushes it out of sight. Pulleys at 
once seize the creased sheet and press it flat, in which shape it is 
hurried forward to meet three circular knives on one shaft, which 
cut it across in four equal pieces. Disappearing for an instant from 
view, it comes out on the other side of the upper end of the tail of 
the press in the form of four folded sections of eight pages each. 
Immediately after, at the lower end of the tail of the press, out come 
four entirely different sections of eight pages each. This duplicate 
delivery shows the product of the press to be at every revolution of 
the cylinder sixty-four pages, neatly printed, truly cut, and accurately 
registered and folded, ready for the binder. Two boys are kept fully 
employed in seizing the folded sections and putting them in box 
trucks, by which they are rolled out to the elevator, and on these sent 
to the bindery. This web press is not so fast as the web press of 
daily newspapers, but it performs more operations and does more accur- 
ate work. It is not a large machine, nor is it noisy, nor does it seem 
to be moving fast, but the paper goes through the cylinders at 
the rate of nearly two hundred feet a minute. It does ten times 
as much work as the noisier and more bustling presses by its side." 



The success of this perfecting press induced the makers to de- 
vise a machine on the rotary principle adapted for the finest kind of 
illustrations in short, to make a press which should do work as fine 
as it was possible to do on the hand press or the stop cylinder. The 
result was the setting up, in 1890, at the De Vinne Press, of a 


machine known as the " Rotary Art " press. This machine is 
described in the "Century" of November, 1890, as follows: 
" Sixty-four plates of the ' Century,' truly bent to the proper curve, 
are firmly fastened on one cylinder sixty inches long, and about 
thirty inches in diameter; sixteen inking rollers, supplied with ink 
from two fountains, successfully ink these sixty-four plates with a 
delicacy and yet with a fullness of color never before attained. The 
shafts of the impression cylinder and the plate cylinders, 4^ inches 
in diameter, do not give or spring under the strongest impression. 



Although rigid in every part, in the hands of an expert pressman it 
can be made responsive to the slightest overlay. This machine is 
fed by four feeders from single sheets in the usual manner, and does 
the work of four stop cylinders in superior style. The gain in 
performance is not as great as the gain in quality of presswork, but 
quality was considered more than speed. The performance of the 
machine could have been more than doubled by adding to it other 
cylinders which would print on both sides of the paper; but careful 
experiment has proved that the finest woodcuts cannot be properly 
printed with this rapidity. To get the best results the ink on one 
side of the paper must be dry before it is printed on the other side." 
Among the most interesting modern printing machines are 
those constructed by Hoe & Co. at their London works, after draw- 
ings and patterns sent from New York, for weekly English jour- 
nals, such as "Tit-Bits," "Sunday Stories," and similar periodicals. 
These machines embody to a certain extent the principles of the 
"Double Supplement" press before referred to. Double sets of 
plates are placed upon the main machine, which is capable of 
taking on an aggregate of twenty-four pages; and by using nar- 
rower rolls the number of pages of the body of the journal may 
be reduced to sixteen or twenty, so that the publisher may have 
the option of printing his paper either sixteen, twenty or twenty-four 
pages. In addition to this it prints a cover on a different colored paper, 
and all at the rate of 24,000 copies per hour; the whole product, in- 
cluding the cover, being cut on the edges and pasted together at the 
back. The supplement or cover of the press portion, however, instead 
of having two pairs of cylinders, as in the "Double Supplement" 
machine, consists of one form cylinder and one impression cylinder. 
This portion of the machine prints the cover, which is fed from a 
narrower roll, and, as before stated, of an entirely different color 
or quality of paper from the body of the journal. The form for one 
side of the cover is placed on one end of the form cylinder, and 





that for th^ other side on the other end of the cylinder. This 
ingenious combination results in the printing of one cover to every 
copy of the journal issued and no more. 

The demand for printed matter seems to increase with the 
ability to furnish it, and much attention is now being directed to 
the subject of color printing on the rotary system. From present 
appearances, and from the enterprise displayed by the publisher, the 
artist and the press maker, it would seem as though the day is not 
far distant when this subject alone would furnish matter for a new 
chapter in the history of the printing press. 

It is very difficult to give in a short article even a summary of 
the various kinds of machines to print newspapers of various sizes, 
in black as well as in colors, weekly periodicals, magazines, books, 
pamphlets, in short every class of printing, in connection with fold- 
ing, which have been evolved and perfected up to the present time. 
The work still goes on, one step in advance leading to another, until 
now a printer can obtain a great variety of machines to print from 
the roll or fed from separate sheets, and which, especially in the 
production of large numbers, economize both time and labor. Nor 
is this constant advance in mechanical construction confined to the 
machines themselves or the manipulation of the paper. It extends 
to the manufacture of the paper and the inks, although the manu- 
facturers of the latter have not advanced in the same proportion as 
the paper-maker, who every year produces finer paper in the roll 
and in greater quantities than ever before. 

The latest and most elaborate newspaper machine is the Oc- 
tuple Perfecting Press with Folders, which prints from four rolls, 
each four pages wide, and gives (from the four deliveries) a running 
speed per hour of: 96,000 4, 6 or 8-page papers; 72,000 ro-page 
papers; 60,000 1 2-page papers; 48,000 14 or 1 6-page papers; 
42,000 1 8-page papers; 36,000 2o-page papers; 24,000 24-page 



This machine has been further developed into the Improved 
Combination Octuple (or Double Quadruple) and Color Machine, 
lately patented by R. Hoe 6c Co., which, in addition to giving the 
above mentioned output when printing in black only, will also pro- 
duce papers in colors at the rate per hour of: 96,000 4-pages ; 
48,0006, 8, 10, 12, 1 4 or i 6 pages; 24,000 18, 20, 24 or 28 pages. 

R. Hoe & Co. have now in process of construction four mam- 
moth printing machines, which will give a greater product and a 
greater variety of products than any machines that have hitherto 
been devised. Thev are Double Sextuple Presses and so called, 
but in reality are much more than this, inasmuch as they combine 
the ability to do printing in colors as well as in black. This machine 
is composed, so to speak, of two separate, complete printing me- 
chanisms, each fed from three four-page-wide rolls of paper; the 
apparatus for the gathering and folding of these webs of paper after 
printing being in the centre between the two sections of the ma- 
chine. The "formers" and folders (placed back to back) enable 
a manipulation or gathering of the webs which could not be readily 
obtained in any other way. All these devices and methods have 
been patented by Hoe & Co. The following is a summary descrip- 
tion of these new machines and what they will accomplish. The 
two sections may be used separately if desired, as independent ma- 

Each of the two portions of the machine is composed of six 
pairs of cylinders, arranged, with their axles parallel, in three tiers 
of two pairs each and printing on both sides (or perfecting) three 
webs of paper from separate rolls, each four -pages wide. One of the 
sections is also arranged so that all six sets of cylinders will print 
upon a single web in colors and black, this web being associated 
with the three webs from the other portion to form a colored cover 
for the products, when required. 

The rolls of paper are placed at the end of the machine 



three at each end and the two folders tor each portion are placed 
back to back midway in the length of the machine. The runs of 
all the webs are therefore approximately the same and as short as it 
is possible to have them a matter of much importance in the 
running of multiple webs. 

Altogether there are twelve plate cylinders in the machine, 
each carrying eight plates the size of a newspaper page. Either 
stereotype or electrotype plates may be used. To receive the latter, 
which are much thinner than stereotype plates, special base or jacket 
plates are secured to the cylinders. The ink is applied to the plates 
by four form rollers, after having been thoroughly distributed by 
vibrating rollers and cylinders. 

The full capacity of the machine, when printing all black, on 
six rolls, is 96,000 twelve-page papers per hour, and other numbers 
of pages at proportionate speeds, namely, four, six, eight and ten- 
page papers, at the same speed as twelve-page ; fourteen and sixteen- 
page papers at 72,000 per hour ; eighteen, twenty, twenty-two and 
twenty-four page papers at 48,000 per hour. The three webs from 
each portion of the machine are led to the top of the folders, where 
they are divided along their centre line into webs two pages wide, 
and then run down each of the four " formers," by which they are 
folded along their centre. They are then led through cylinders 
which cut them into page lengths and give them a fold across the 
page to half-page size. In this way twenty-four page papers may 
be obtained at the rate of 48,000 copies per hour, by collecting two 
twelve-page sections on the cylinder just before the half-page fold 
is made. Another method of running twenty-four page papers is. 
to associate the six webs, from both portions of the machine, and 
run them over one pair of " formers," thus folding all six webs 
together, or insetting them, in the first fold. 

Lesser number of pages may be obtained by making various 
combinations, the number of which is almost limitless. Angle bars 



are placed in the machine tor transferring halt-width webs of paper 
from one side of the pros to the otlier, facilitating these combina- 

The maximum product of the machine when running as a 
color press is 48,000 sixteen-page papers per hour, with the two 
outside pages printed in four colors and black ; the other pages in 
black only. If, however, it is not desired to have so many colors on 
the outside pages, it is possible to obtain twenty-page papers, at the 
rate of 48,000 per hour, with the two outside pages in two colors 
and black ; all the other pages in black only. Papers with any 
number of pages from four to sixteen, with four colors and black on 
the outside pages, the other pages in black only, can be obtained at 
a speed of 48,000 per hour. By running the full product of the 
color section of the machine into one folder and associating there- 
with webs of paper from the other section of the machine, papers 
with any number of pages from eight to twenty-four, with the two 
outside pages and two of the inside pages printed in four colors and 
black, the other pages in black only, can be produced at a speed of 
24,000 per hour. 

The dimensions of this machine are as follows: Length, 35 
feet; height, 17 feet; width, 9 feet; the weight, about 225,000 
pounds ; and the number of parts of which it is composed, approx- 
imately 50,000. 

The last three or four years have also witnessed an immense 
advance in the art of color printing. The magazine without an elab- 
orate color cover, or perhaps colored illustrations, is now an excep- 
tion, whereas it was the reverse not long ago. After satisfactory 
experiments it was ascertained by the writer that, with the inks prop- 
erly prepared, and suitable plates to print from, colors could be printed 
almost simultaneously upon the paper, without mingling ; in short 
that the supposed necessity, in much of the work done, of drying the 
sheets after the impression of each color on the paper, was not necessary 



for the production of a good quality of printing. Further experiments 
also proved the mechanical possibility of obtaining most accurate 
register in printing from a roll and that the number of impressions, 
or colors, could be increased to advantage. These various experi- 
ments resulted in the construction by Hoe & Co. of color presses 
which were almost simultaneously installed by the proprietors of the 
New York "Herald" and the New York "World," who com- 
menced the publication of colored supplements, upon a system which 
has been adopted by the papers in most of the large cities, and which 
they have never discontinued. The practicability of printing in colors 
has been so fully demonstrated that color attachments are being added 
to very many of the large newspaper presses throughout the 

The most extensive of the color presses, and the largest print- 
ing machine ever constructed, is the color press made by Hoe & Co. 
for the New York "Journal" and now used in printing portions of the 
Sunday editions of that paper, although others of approximate pro- 
portions and capacity have been made for the New York " World," 
the New York " Herald," the Chicago " Tribune," the Boston 
" Post " and other newspapers. This machine gives as many as eleven 
separate impressions, or colors, on a single copy of the paper; that 
is, it will print in six colors on one side of the sheet and five on the 
other, or it may be arranged to print three colors on one side and six 
on the other, giving a speed of about i 6,000 eight-page papers an 
hour, or at every revolution of the cylinders the equivalent of two 
perfect eight-page papers printed in colors. Four, six, eight, ten, 
twelve, fourteen, sixteen, twenty, twenty-four, twenty-eight or thirty- 
two-page papers may be printed on this machine, as required, from 
one, two or three double-width (or four-page-wide) rolls of paper. 
It will also produce magazine forms (with pages half the size of 
those of the regular issue of the paper) at from 16,000 to 24,000 
an hour, either 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 40 or 48 pages, delivered folded, 



cut, and automatically wire-stitched, with all the pages printed in 
colors or half-tones. 

Such a development of the art of printing, especially in colors, 
in which accurate register is not only necessary, but must be main- 
tained, would have seemed incredible a few years ago, but this is 
now a daily occurrence and many newspaper offices produce colored 
supplements in the same manner and with the same results, having 
additions placed upon their quadruple, sextuple and other presses for 
the purpose. 

Nor has this development of colors been confined entirely to 
the demands of the newspaper world. It is gradually finding its 
way into the weekly periodical and the monthly magazines. It had 
been considered impossible to print half-tone illustrations on both 
sides of the sheet at one operation and deliver them flat, without 
smutting. Not only has this difficulty been overcome, but in the 
latest presses, such as used by Collier's Weekly, the finest half-tone work 
is done on a perfecting press printing on a roll of paper. The periodi- 
cal is printed in multiple pages, as required, and delivered from the 
machine folded, cut apart and pasted, ready for the binder. It is 
not desirable, of course, when using fine inks, to make immediate 
delivery from the press ; therefore the papers, after having been per- 
fected, folded and pasted, are left to stand for some hours before 
they are distributed to the readers. Satisfactory methods of doing 
this have also been devised. The capacity for printing fine half- 
tone illustrations on a rotary press having thus been demonstrated 
the next step is evidently the production of colored half-tones, and 
the time is undoubtedly near at hand when the monthly magazine 
as well as the weekly periodical will appear, instead of in black half- 
tones, now so popular, with these same illustrations printed in the 
most delicate manner in colors and all delivered in perfection from 
rotary presses, folded in entirety, or in signatures, ready for the 


8 9 


It must now be evident to every experienced observer that the 
time has arrived when printing upon the rotary system will in a 
large measure supersede that now done upon flat-bed cylinder 
presses, although the latter will always be retained for some kinds 
of work. Satisfactory methods will be devised for attaching upon 
the cylinders electrotype or stereotype plates of varying sizes. In 
addition to this, new and improved methods are constantly being 
brought forward for the transferring of type forms, photographs 
and illustrations of every description, upon prepared sheets of metal, 
which receive the ink and give impressions either from a raised 
surface, as in the ordinary letter-press printing, or in the manner 
of lithographic printing. These and other new methods of mak- 
ing plates will undoubtedly lead in the future to great economy, as 
well as to important improvements in the process of printing.